Antigay Minister, Southern Decadence Critic, Convicted of Obscenity

A right-wing minister who has denounced New Orleans’s gay-oriented Southern Decadence festival has been convicted of obscenity for masturbating in a public park.

The Reverend Grant Storms, 55, was convicted of a single count yesterday in a Louisiana court, reports New Orleans’s Times-Picayune. He had been charged with obscenity for exposing himself while masturbating in his minivan, parked in Lafreniere Park in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, on February 25, 2011. Storms, who has a lawn-mowing business, said he went to the park to take a break between jobs.

He had admitted to pleasuring himself, saying he finds it a thrill to do so in public, but denied exposing his penis. However, a nanny who was bringing children to the park for a picnic said she observed the exposure when she got out of her vehicle, parked next to his.

Shortly after his arrest, Storms had held a press conference, saying the Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies who arrested him were “maniacal” and “coercive.” But he also acknowledged he had viewed pornography that day and said, “I apologize deeply for my inappropriate, sinful actions.”

After finding Storms guilty, Judge Ross LaDart of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced him to three years’ probation and ordered an evaluation, apparently to determine his mental health, the Times-Picayune reports.

In 2003, Storms, who has called himself a “Christian patriot,” made news when he led his small church congregation through New Orleans’s French Quarter to protest Southern Decadence, a gay festival held every Labor Day weekend. He railed against LGBT people as well as the city of New Orleans, which he called a “prostitute” for allowing the event. A local merchants’ association went to court for a restraining order to prevent Storms and his followers from using bullhorns. Storms has since apologized for the protest.

Complete Article HERE!

Florida Pastor Arrested Soliciting Sex from Men in Park

A Florida pastor was among those arrested this week in a sex sting in a public park:

ClarkPolk County Sheriff’s Office vice detectives arrested four men, including a pastor and a retired Canadian police officer, during an undercover operation today at Peace River Park in the Homeland area. Detectives said after they made contact with the men, the suspects exposed themselves and/or asked them to perform sex acts on them. Among those arrested was Matthew Preston Clark, 33, of Bartow, who told detectives he is senior pastor at the Blessed Assurance Temple, 1245 S. McAdoo Ave, Bartow. He was charged with soliciting a lewd act.

“It never ceases to amaze me when professionals such as preachers and law enforcement officers are engaged in such outrageous behavior,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a release. “That type of behavior is not going to be tolerated in our parks. We want to ensure that all of our parks are safe for children and their families to enjoy.”

Complete Article HERE!

Mrs. Santorum, Can We Talk?

COMMENTARY — Kate Kendell

On a recent campaign stop, Karen Santorum accused LGBT activists of “backyard bullying” against her husband in the presidential race. National Center for Lesbian Rights executive director Kate Kendell responds.

Someone’s been using the extra bit of cash he got from his surge in Iowa to buy some spin doctor advice. Earlier this week, Rick Santorum, his wife, Karen, and their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, were all talking about how much Rick “loves gay people” and that his opposition to our right to marry is a “policy difference.” Karen then added to the obscenity of this utter claptrap by suggesting that gay activists were being “backyard bullies” in our attacks on her husband and his policies.

Karen, we need to talk. And by that, I mean that I need to talk and you need to listen.

You love your husband — I get that. You love your faith — fine by me. But when you pretend that hate is love, that lies are truth, and that victims are oppressors, you have become inane.

Your husband believes that LGBT people cannot be trusted to serve in the military, raise children, form stable relationships or be fully respected under the law. According to you, Rick may love us, but honey, his love is killing us, and we want nothing to do with this abusive relationship. Our community has endured expulsion from family, mass firings, daily epitaphs, assaults, harassment, humiliation, death, and suicides. We know that if your husband becomes president of our country our long suffering will only deepen and magnify.

So yes, we are calling him what he is: a sanctimonious bigot who believes that we are dangerous, sick, and evil. We are telling the truth about his vision and his beliefs about us. That is NOT bullying, it’s about saving our own lives. Your husband would erase the landmark and life-saving changes we have seen over the past few years, and revisit the hell of a government that does not see us as fully human. Given what so many of my brothers and sisters live through daily, you calling us bullies is contemptible.

It did not have to be this way. Many people of faith truly and authentically do love the LGBT people in their lives. They also love fairness and equality and inclusion. They do not live in fear of those who are different. My mom was such a person, and I am sure you could have been too.

In some ways, it’s very sad. In another two or three months, the cameras will be gone, and the press will not care about you or Rick. The march of justice will continue, leaving you and your family a forgotten footnote on the wrong side of history.

I’m glad we talked, Karen. I feel better now. While I know you will keep saying whatever that reprobate PR firm is telling you to say, at least we understand each other.

You and Rick are the haters. My community is the victim, and anyone paying attention knows the truth.

Complete Article HERE!

Clerics clash in Bethlehem brawl at Jesus’ birthplace

An now for a spot of news that highlights the true spirit of Christmas.

A Christmas cleaning of the Church of the Nativity turned into scuffles on Wednesday between rival Christian clerics zealously guarding denominational turf at the holy site.

Brooms and fists flew inside the church marking the birthplace of Jesus as some 100 priests and monks of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic churches brawled.

Palestinian police, bending their heads to squeeze through the church’s low “door of humility,” rushed in with batons flailing to restore order.

“It was a trivial problem that … occurs every year,” said police Lieutenant-Colonel Khaled al-Tamimi. “Everything is all right and things have returned to normal,” he said. “No one was arrested because all those involved were men of God.”

Administration of the 6th century Bethlehem church, the oldest in the Holy Land, is shared by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian clerics.

Any perceived encroachment of jurisdictional boundaries within the church can set off a row, especially during the annual cleaning for Orthodox Christmas celebrations, which will be held next week.

Complete Article HERE!